apple

iOS 10: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE USELESS
October 4, 2016 5:52 pm

The craze of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus a few weeks ago and the flood of memes about it having no headphone jack is basically all everyone was talking about in September. Surprisingly though, iOS 10 seems to be where the actual rich changes are in Apple’s products. iOS 10 is good, a nice upgrade for those who are obsessed with more flash and less function. There is a huge amount updated, and I won’t go through all  of it, but here are my impressions of having it so far.

THE GOOD:

It is fun. It is entertaining. Siri is smarter and opens programs for you or just does what you ask with certain apps, like finding you directions to the closest gas station. The iMessanger has been greatly overhauled, almost too much for my blood. Maybe it is my age, but I don’t need ALL these features. You can draw with cool effects, send messages that slam into the conversation and search all sorts of gifs to send friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love all these things, but it getting to be too much. Like how often am I going to honestly send a neon drawn picture with kissy lips appearing all over it? The change in shape and design of alert banners seemed odd and unnecessary at first, but I’ve gotten used to them, they just hover for too long in my opinion. One of the best, and my favorite, things is that I can finally delete a lot of iPhone permanent apps that weren’t previously aloud to be deleted, so I am very happy about that. Also the quick menu that you get from the bottom is a little weird, but not terrible, the fact that you can swipe to media that is being played and change it there is pretty cool, but still slightly cumbersome.

 

THE BAD:

It is getting messy. I had to download ANOTHER app called Home which I automatically put into my group of dumb apps that I don’t need and just take up space. The messenger keyboard will sometimes get stuck sideways making me have to restart the app just to fix it so I can type. When I double click the home button, the app will shift sideways and I can’t select, scroll or close them, and so I have to lock my phone and unlock it to  get it to function correctly again.

 

THE USELESS:

Like I was saying in the “Good” section, the messenger is getting too cluttered, and has too much different functions that I am never going to use on a daily basis. The forced install app Home, which connects itself to you home system of light, TV or other electronics), seems cool, but if you don’t have everything already set up and have Apps or remotes for those things, you won’t ever need it. I guess it can be helpful because who really wants to get up to turn off lights with a light switch anymore? That was so last millennium (heavy sarcasm).  The new left swipe list of new and alerts looks unorganized and pointless to have, just like before, but now it is slightly different and I have no desire to learn how to use it effectively.

 

All in all getting the update isn’t that bad, it just has so much hullabaloo and so many bugs that it is kind of annoying. It is fun for sure, it really is, but it feels like a stupid app you download for fun because your friends did, but unfortunately it is permanently here and essential to the future function of you Apple device. I hope for some good updates and cleaning of iOS 10, because it does have the potential to be something great.

iPHONE 7 AND iPHONE 7 PLUS SWOOP IN WITH A LOAD OF NEW SPECS
September 7, 2016 6:35 pm

 

It’s that time of the year again, time for Apple to find a new way to take millions of dollars from the world. The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus were announced and everyone is ready to throw these new products in the toilet. No, not because they are terrible, but with a list of new specs and upgrades, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus can brave even the roughest of storms.

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The newest and most important updates for both of them are as follows:

1) Water Resistant! If you leave it in a fish tank for a few days, I don’t think it will work but it can withstand a drop in the wiz-palace, the pool or a very rainy day.

2) The new Home Button will no longer be a click or touch base, but a hard touch to better distinguish between brushing over it and actually pressing it.

3) No Headphone Jack! This is a double edged sword. It promotes bluetooth use which is nice…sometimes. New AirPods wirless head phones will be coming in late October, but for now you’ll be using standard Bluetooth or an adapter for the lighting charge port that will allow you to plug in normal headphones.

4) A 12 Mega-Pixel Camera is pretty big to fit on a cell phone, but they do it somehow. Easily beats all other cameras on previous iPhones.

5) The new Black design will be the new fancy color only available for the 128G and 256G models while the other colors upon release will be Rose-Gold, Gold, Silver and Matte Black.

6) The New A10 processor will make your iPhone 5 look like it was from the 90’s.

7) Not an exclusive to the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, iOS 10 will be arriving the 13th, so be prepared for a big update for all your other devices.

 

There are a vast amount of other upgrades in it that you can check out here. The iPhone 7 Plus will have a long lasting battery, larger screen and include a second out facing camera that will allow 2x analog zoom (which actually seems pretty awesome).

The iPhone 7 will be priced at $649 with 32G, $749 with 128G, and $849 with 256G of storage. The iPhone 7 Plus is obviously at a higher price because of the extra things: $769 with 32G, $869 with 128G, and $969 with 256G.

Pre-Orders will be available on the 9th and it will be released on the 16th of this month. Are you willing to shell out close to a thousand dollars for the newest, biggest and baddest iPhone? Will you turn in your old one and upgrade it that you’ll still have some money for food and rent this month? Let us know what you’ll be doing at @ATYPICALSOUNDS on Twitter.

MESSAGE SAFELY WITH SESAME
August 3, 2016 9:48 am

In a post by Edward Snowden, privacy can mean the world to some people. I don’t know about you, but between the regular run of the mill paranoia and the media hyped overplayed Orwellian way in which the government seems to have control over our information, I am honestly a bit scared.

A bit. Not too much. That’s probably because things are so bad that I might’ve just gotten used to it.

Regardless, privacy is a big concern to a lot of people nowadays. It is something that companies try their hardest to maintain. The Apple vs. FBI case earlier this year goes to show the extent to which a company will stand their ground in order to keep some sense of reliability with their customers. If privacy is your worry, check out Sesame.

Sesame is an encrypted messaging app. While Messenger from apple is very good as is, it is not enough sometimes. The paranoid tin hat wearing version of me never thinks general encryption is enough. I have to stop watching Mr. Robot.

Sesame works just as you would think, they promote your right to “own all of your data and messages.” The app is great, you can customize little things, you can change who can and cannot save your messages, it has end to end security encryption so that both users are protected, a feature that Facebook JUST added that we talked about earlier this week.

It also has one of the best features that I have ever seen on any app, ever. The “unsend” button. No matter how far back you send a message, you can unsend it. Fantastic isn’t it? It’s everyone’s dream button. How many times have you sent something and you wish you hadn’t. Let Sesame make that dream a reality, and in doing so, save you from getting in a lot of trouble.

The app is only available for from the App Store for now, but if you are lucky enough to have an iPhone, make sure to keep your information protected from the government fat cats and the oligarchs trying to destroy our society. As of the time of this post, it has been taken down an you can sign up to be put on a wait list for it here.

FINALLY! FRANK OCEAN TO DROP ‘BOYS DON’T CRY’ ON FRIDAY!
August 2, 2016 3:20 pm

That’s right.  The wait is almost over.

In an article announcement Monday via The New York Times, Frank Ocean announced that Boys Don’t Cry, the follow up to 2012’s critically acclaimed Channel Orange, will drop Friday.

The album will be exclusive to Apple Music for the first two weeks, before wider distribution ensues.  Apple has recently arranged similar deals with big name artists including Drake, Future, and Chance the Rapper.

Leading up to the release, Frank has given us a cryptic trail of hints.  First an Instagram pic of an old due-date library card with dates stamped leading up to July 2016 with the message #BoysDontCry.

On Monday Frank Ocean also live-streamed a mysterious video on his website, which has since been taken down, hinting further that activity is in the works.  A director by the name of Francisco Soriano is taking credit for the video art, he also shot the video for Frank Ocean’s “Lost.”

But now with the various official announcements, we can only wait in anticipation for Friday and his new album.

OLIGARCHS OF THE MUSIC STREAMING WARS
June 15, 2016 12:24 pm

If there’s a recurring theme for America in 2016, it’s that oligarchs are having great success at being seen as a champion of the people. They never are, but hey, keep on lauding them for their savvy marketing in conversation because you read too much Chuck Klosterman and want to be known as the ‘nuanced thinker’ in your shitbox group of friends.

Oligarchs have been trying to be fun and relatable pals who enjoy grabbing brewskis at BDubs with us kids for a while. Essentially, that’s the point of pandering advertising: to make it seem as though Company X knows what Person Y is going through, which is why they’d be flat out dumb if they didn’t buy Product Z. Done well and in moderation, it’s a fine and necessary evil that pays for a lot of stuff we all adore. But now that these multi-million/billion dollar companies have caught wind to the vomit-inducing ‘Brand Culture’ sweeping the nation, while living within our most prized possessions in app and website form, they’ve gone further and further into the fiery fissure of contrived relatability to an embarrassing extent.

This is what makes the brunt of music-based arguments that have fans so petulant now. We’re all at the whim of a few megalomaniacs who control an industry that’s become more about the middle-man than the artist and listener. As shown through the multiple instances over the past year, fans weren’t even able to listen to their favorite artist’s newest material without their allegiance to the correct middle-man in the form of a streaming service.

Tidal and Apple Music are both attempting to convey the image as the ‘artist friendly’ streaming provider. This angle is super ironic for Apple, considering that they’re one of the main reasons why album sales are where they are now, but it’s working for them regardless. Each had multiple albums released exclusively on their platform by A-List talent at this point, and each album has been as relevant and conversation-monopolizing as intended. All this, though, and Spotify still towers over their subscriber tally combined without a single exclusive release of their own.

Although Apple seems to be gaining ground, Spotify is currently sitting atop the streaming throne completely unbothered despite being completely untethered to any artist whatsoever. While being the most senior service of the three by a considerable margin helps with this count, it can’t go unnoticed that Spotify is completely bypassing musicians as a selling point to their music service.

Spotify has elected to focus on user experience, along with the sheer concept of music quantity being at the user’s disposal. It’s made the user completely forget that although they are now paying for their music, a concept that was thought to be doomed just a few years ago, they are still fucking over the artists they are listening to.

A great argument can be made that listeners do not deserve to have a platform so beneficial to them. Whether it’s illegally recording bands for the sake of bootlegging or risking the death of their computer for a free illegal download of the new Metallica album, fans have a lengthy history not caring if their favorite artist goes poor. By enabling this behavior, Spotify comes off as the less affable, capitalist hungry brother of Napster with a better legal team and the foresight to keep the record labels happy. After all, they’re an oligarch in the making now.

For a brief moment in time, I was sure Spotify would be the one to bring an end to the last standing major record label. That although they were still giving an insane amount of the royalty percentages to them, those half-penny checks would eventually prove to be too paltry for survival, thus closing up shop on unfair royalty payouts, leading Spotify to create a fairer split percentage with the artists themselves. Maybe Spotify would even open a record label in order to facilitate this. But as the history of any business sector would show you, the oligarchs do not crumble, they simply converge.

Just a few days ago, leaders from the three major labels met with a score of the more modern music hosting platforms to discuss streamlining royalty identification. What it seems like, from reading this report, is that basically anyone who’s even thought about starting a business in the music industry was invited to this thing. CD Baby? Tunecore? These names mean nothing to me…yet. But I think that’s the point- getting independent labels under the belt of the bug guys will probably prove to be incredibly beneficial in the long run. 

But one small note about the article: there seems to have been no artists there, except for a cellist by the name of Zoe Keating, who I’m sure plays the cello wonderfully. I’m not sure if there were any artists present to be able to establish their own desires for how their music gets distributed and at who’s and what cost, but it just goes to show how little any particular artist fits into the equation.

And no fans were there either. Not even a token one for good luck. Because despite an oligarch’s vociferous huffing and puffing about how much they love the people, they probably couldn’t give less of a shit about you.

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TOP 8 TECHIE GIFTS FOR MUSICIANS
December 18, 2015 3:18 pm

Looking for a techie gift to give to a musician friend or relative?

Christmas is right around the corner and we’ve gathered the Top 8 (shoutout Myspace) music gadgets to help those technologically challenged gift givers this holiday season.

1. Subscription Membership – Instead of dropping $150 on another pair of trendy headphones that will break or disappear within the next month, get your music-loving loved one the gift of music…a lot of it. Services like Amazon Prime, Apple Music, and Spotify Premium even have great family deals and trial months specials, making a full year of unlimited access to downloadable music cost less than $120.

2. Milktape

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While Cassette tapes and CDs have become somewhat of a throwback, the mixtape is a timeless gesture. Check out Milktape’s customizable cassette-shaped USB ports. They hold between 15-20 songs and are both Mac and PC compatible. Plus, starting at $15, this seems like the perfect stocking stuffer for a music-lover on the go.

3. Blackstar Fly 3

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Whether your Secret Santa selection is a subway performer or touring musician, the Blackstar Fly 3 is a must-have for a musician on the go. This 3-watt mini amp runs on battery power, features a standard ¼ inch input, and has the basic delay, tone, drive, and volume controls. It also has an AUX input, transforming it into a portable speaker and making your $60 go a long way.

4. Jamstik+

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This may as well be the “hoverboard” of music gadgets this year: insanely popular and uniquely ridicuous. Targeted at the Generation Z teenster demographic, Jamstik + features a guitar hero-like neck and iPad app geared towards teaching people the guitar in a way they can understand. While the idea of using technology to enable people to learn an instrument on their own is commendable, the high cost of nearly $400 seems a bit much. However, if you can swing it, this may be the future of learning music.

5. Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller

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DJ’s are people too! But seriously, this product (BEAST-tested and approved) is one of the best portable DJ sets. Everything is intuitive, from the slomo features to the synchronization tools. While the price tag is steep at $250, it is a worthy investment for a DJ who can make a decent chunk of change spinning events around the city.

6. Midi Keyboard

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Shopping for a Midi keyboard can be a lot like Tinder, you spend hours searching, ample time considering which way to swipe, and still don’t know if it’s going to be a match. That’s why we urge you to stick to the big names when buying a MIDI keyboard for someone else – Alesis, M-Audio, Novation, etc. If you’re buying for a newbie, opt for a mid-price MIDI with touch pads like the Alesis V and Vi series. At prices ranging frow $100-$200, they are easy to learn on and super fun to play.

7. Audio Interface – Having the ability to record an at-home demo is a must-have for any up and coming musician. Interfaces are the best way to get started on learning how to self-produce and self-release your own music. For a singer-songwriter, opt for a 2-input interface like the Focusrite Scarlett. The Apogee brand is also great way to go – The Duet is some of the premiere technology out there right now. But at a price point of $600+ the duet is a serious investment. For a cheaper option, the Apogee One is half the price at $300 and even has a solid built-in mic.

8. Abelton Live – And we saved the best for last. Abelton is a musician’s best friend, partner, and mistress all wrapped into one pretty little piece of software. With the ability to record, mix, and master both in the comfort of your own home and live in front of an audience, it is the most versatile DAW at the amateur’s price point. With Intro packages starting at $99 plus the ability to upgrade to the Standard or Suite version, Abelton Live is an affordable way to learn how to record at home and make that recording come to life on the stage.

SPOTLIGHT ON: MUSICOVERY
October 28, 2015 8:55 am

In an internet radio world dominated by big players like Pandora, Sirius XM, Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify, the little guys have a lot to prove just to keep up.

Musicovery is an app that integrates mood-based listening with online radio. It does so in the Songza vein; however, in a much more simplified fashion. While Songza boasts twenty different moods, Musicovery selects the big four: “Energetic,” “Calm,” “Dark,” and “Positive.” The four moods are set up like a grid with the “Energetic” and “Calm” on the North and South poles and “Dark” and “Positive” on the West and East poles. The user selects an area on the grid and the service plays a song based on both where the selected area falls on the mood spectrum and additional genre preferences the user can select.

Sometimes less is more. Other times, less is just less.

While Musicovery’s inclusion of only four moods certainly lightens the workload of the listener, it does not provide the ultimate experience that a more complex service like Songza provides. The few mood choices make the listening experience haphazard and difficult to listen to if you are a listener who has specific taste. Additionally, Musicovery’s lack of activity-based customization reduces the overall efficacy of the platform. If a user isn’t feeling in a particular mood but is doing a particular activity, the user cannot utilize the platform. Finally, the abundant technological setbacks, like not having an app with iPhone compatibility and bugs on the desktop site, make the user experience a frustrating one.

Amidst the more negative analysis, there is a silver lining to Musicovery. I have never seen a more diverse and global approach to the online radio listening experience. Musicovery is a go-to for a listener with a wide range of musical interests spanning every genre and every country of origin. For a World Music lover like me, this app is a great destination for a more globally focused listening experience.

At the end of the day, Musicovery’s globally focused listening experience cannot compensate for its lack of mobile accessibility, glitches on the site, scarce mood options and lack of activity-based listening. While I would love to root for the little guy, I find myself sticking with the big guns like Songza (acquired by Google and integrated into Google Play) and Spotify… at least for now.

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Record On The Go With Track’d
September 30, 2015 3:24 pm

We here at ATYPICALSOUNDS know musicians. Most of us are musicians. We’ve all been there; sitting in your buddy’s (insert- garage, bedroom, fire escape, etc) and just free-styling music; strumming your grandpa’s acoustic while scribbling poetic lyrics about that asshole..I mean… the one that got away. Well, now you can capture these impromptu moments of musical glory.

Trackd is an iOS App that is a simple and easy-to-use tool for artists to record, view, listen, share, and collaborate with other musicians around the world (or just the ones you played in your high school band with).  Trackd creates a simple platform with the basic recording tools musicians need and combines it with the ability to collaborate on those recordings with others. It provides an easy way to capture inspiration on the go with the ability to find and work with other musicians.  Since all of this can be done through your phone, it can be done almost anywhere, anytime.

It can be difficult to find artists who share similar musical styles and ideas, especially if you live in an area that lacks a substantial music scene (#BrooklynAllDay). This app aims to solve those problems and has a credible team of musicians, creatives, and technologists behind it. The Trackd team is made up of Russel Sheffield, James Easton, Daniel James Diggle, and Aaron Ray. Sheffield’s father is a founder of Trident Studios in the UK where acts such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and David Bowie have recorded some of their biggest hits. Diggle is a freelance designer, illustrator, and animator who has worked for some fairly large clients. You might’ve heard of them in passing…Google and Coca-Cola? No? Nevermind, then. Ray is a successful NYC-based app developer.

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So why am I giving you this much information on them and not the app itself?  Unlike a lot of other apps Trackd is clearly a creation by people who know what they are doing.  

As for myself, I have minimal experience recording music, although I’ve done my fair share dabbling in Garageband few times. As an amateur, I was so surprised at how extremely easy Trackd was to use.  There is a short tutorial video in the beginning that guides you through the basics. It was so easy to record, delete, edit, discover other artists, collaborate, and share music.  There are mixing tools that easily allow you to adjust volume levels while your track is playing and it even has pan controls.

Released in August, it already had 18,000 users after only two weeks of being active and feedback has been very positive

The app is still new so there are limits to its capabilities but on Trackd’s Facebook they promise cool updates and expansions are on the way. For $1.99 you can upgrade the app to allow 8 tracks instead of 4 but besides that everything is free! 

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